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When will Rod Moore get the respect he deserves?

The junior safety is one of the best in the country, but is hardly mentioned by national pundits.

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Vrbo Fiesta Bowl - Michigan v TCU Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Why doesn’t Michigan Wolverines safety Rod Moore get the appreciation he deserves? I feel like I need to shout it from every street corner in order for this to get traction. Even ex-Wolverine turned Big Ten analyst Jake Butt recognizes the lack of national respect.

Following a terrific sophomore season, Moore was only honored as an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention player. The recognition this offseason feels to be slowly increasing, but the hype train is still stuck in the station compared to where it should be.

Is it bad name theory? If his name were Tavon Moss or Tank Sharp would he be more widely recognized as one of the best pure safeties in the history of Michigan’s program? Whatever the reason, the facts speak for themselves regarding Rod God Moore being the best Wolverine safety since Ernest Shazor.

A few months ago, I wrote about Moore’s case as an elite player when Pro Football Focus (PFF) announced Moore was its fifth-rated returning safety in the country:

“Moore’s blue collar work ethic and on-field play helped him steadily climb the depth chart his true freshman season and in Week 10 against Penn State, Moore made his first career start. Two weeks later, Moore started against his household’s favorite Ohio State Buckeyes.”

“Moore co-led the team with nine tackles and played a pivotal role in toppling the Buckeyes for the first time in a decade. After committing to Michigan in high school, he was told he would never beat Ohio State; through two seasons, Moore has never lost to them.”

“Moore’s sophomore season saw him start 13 games and finish third on the team in tackles (71) and first in interceptions (4). In doing so, Moore became only the second Wolverine since 2000 to reach 70 tackles and four interceptions in a single season. Furthermore, against Purdue in the Big Ten Championship, he recorded 14 total tackles, which is the second-most by a Harbaugh-era player in a single game.”

According to PFF, Moore — who only turned 20 in July — was just one of two Power Five safeties last season to be graded 80+ against the run and the pass. The other was Alabama’s Brian Branch, who also suffers from bad name theory and inexplicably fell to the second round of the NFL Draft. The Lions aren’t complaining, though.

Branch is actually a great comparison in terms of build as well. Moore added 13 pounds in the offseason, bringing up him to 198, and now supports an NFL body to couple with his NFL football IQ. Who could forget Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh discussing Moore’s obsessive study habits on In the Trenches podcast last fall:

“Rod was not a guy who talked a lot about in the recruiting classes,” Harbaugh said. “When you were talking about guys like Donovan Edwards, Junior Colson and J.J. McCarthy and even others — but about three weeks into camp, I went and checked everybody and how much tape they were watching. You give them iPads (to watch tape) and Rod Moore had watched twice as much as the second-best guy for volume of watching tape. He was watching installs, he was re-watching installs.”

“I go, ‘Who is this? Is this guy delusional, that he thinks he’s going to be playing with some of the safeties we have on this team like Brad Hawkins and RJ Moten and (Caden) Kolesar?’ Maybe, maybe he is just that big of a dreamer. It turned out that he was. That’s really the first time he was big-time on my radar as a guy to really watch.”

Moore has had the mental side of the sport down since his freshman season, added the production as a sophomore, and now has the desired frame.

Regardless if he remains an Honorable Mention player to some and a God to others, Moore is one of the best in the country and this season might finally be too loud, even without my shouting, to ignore.